IS blasts kill more than 150 as US, Russia press Syria truce

A string of suicide bombings near a Shiite shrine outside Syria's capital and in Homs claimed by jihadists killed more than 150 people

A string of suicide bombings near a Shiite shrine outside Syria’s capital and in Homs claimed by jihadists killed more than 150 people, as Washington and Moscow worked to secure a ceasefire. The Islamic State group said it was behind the carnage. US Secretary of State John Kerry said a provisional deal had been reached on the terms of a truce in Syria’s brutal five-year conflict, only for the bloodshed to intensify on the ground.

A series of blasts ripped through the Sayyida Zeinab suburb of Damascus, killing at least 83 people and wounding more than 170, the official SANA news agency said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on local Syrian activists, said the blasts killed 62. SANA said the bombs went off near schools during the afternoon rush hour.

The neighborhood is home to one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, which his heavily guarded by Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and other Shiite militiamen from Iraq and elsewhere. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said the blasts were caused by a car bomb and two suicide bombers.

The bombings in the central city of Homs killed at least 46 people and wounded dozens, according to Syria’s Foreign Ministry. The Observatory said 57 people, including 11 women, were killed by two car bombs set off in a mostly Alawite neighborhood. Syrian President Bashar Assad hails from the Alawite minority, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

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